Frank Ocean Opens Up About Independence & Grammys

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean delivered two albums in August: Endless and Blonde. But, despite re-emerging with new music, he has avoided interviews... until now.

This week, the singer sat down with the New York Times for a profile, where he discusses his independence, both in and out of the music industry, among other topics.

"This has always been my life and no one else’s. And that’s how it’s always been since the day I came in it," Ocean says.

Elsewhere, Ocean addressed the controversy surrounding his exclusion from the upcoming Grammys, despite critical acclaim. "That institution certainly has nostalgic importance," he admits, before adding: "It just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down... I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated. I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience."

Below are some highlights from Ocean's NYT profile:

On career drawbacks: “Certain moments were drawbacks for sure. Now I look at things differently, but at the time, yeah. Audiences in excess of five million people [on national TV]. I was always reluctant to do those things except in cases where they had this nostalgic significance to me. Like performing at the VMAs, being tapped to perform at the Grammys — me saying yes to those things had a lot to do with how those things made me feel before I was actually in the business. And just wanting to be rubbing shoulders with those people and being seen at those places. I still was reluctant and sort of skeptical of those things because I questioned whether or not I was prepared.”

On his hiatus: “I had writer’s block for almost a year.”

On wanting to be anonymous: “Sometimes I’m fascinated with how famous my work could be while I’m not so famous. Super-envious of the fact that Daft Punk can wear robot helmets and be one of the most famous bands in the world, while also understanding that will never be my situation. It’s too late. It’s hard to articulate how I think about myself as a public figure. I’ve gotten used to being Frank Ocean. A lot of people stopped me on the street when I hadn’t put music out in a while, literally would yell out of an Uber, ‘Frank, where the album?'”

On dating: “I think normal would be the word, whatever that word means, which is usually nothing. I’m in a very different place than I was four or five years ago with all that stuff. Different in my relationship with myself, which means everything. There’s no, like, shame or self-loathing. There’s no, you know, crisis.”